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Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has said that some $115 million in assistance would be provided to the micro and small business sectors this fiscal year, to boost entrepreneurial efforts and create jobs.
The Prime Minister, who was making her maiden presentation in the 2006/2007 Budget Debate in Gordon House today (May 9), said that the money would be disbursed by the Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA) through its network of community development funds.
“It is projected that this level of credit will finance approximately 1,020 micro enterprises and will generate and sustain over 1,000 jobs,” she said, noting that approximately $20 million of the credit provided would fund small farms engaged in small livestock rearing, tubers and cash crops cultivation.
A total of $8 million will go towards providing funding for micro manufacturing enterprises engaged in woodwork and craft, juice, garments, among other things and “the service sector will access approximately $87 million to finance businesses engaged in computer services, day care centres, barbering, tailoring, beauty supplies and salons, plumbing, motor vehicle repairs, cook-shops, groceries and general vending, stationery supplies and landscaping.”
The Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) will assist the process by providing technical support to the businesses, and also focus on the development and implementation of business opportunities within the micro, small and medium enterprise sectors for the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007.
“Emphasis will be given to craft, food and fashion as well as opportunities in the hospitality, entertainment and other service industries,” the Prime Minister noted.
She said that under the JBDC’s programme, individuals and communities in areas where CWC activities were scheduled to be held, would receive special attention in the development of business ideas, business development and sensitisation to the regulations of the CWC, intellectual property protection, and good business practices.
Entrepreneurs and community groups will be the primary beneficiaries of the project, particularly those residing in Kingston and Trelawny, where the CWC will be held.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) would provide some $23 million towards community projects in Port Maria, St. Mary under the Rural Township Redevelopment Programme.
She said that the money from the UDC would be earmarked for specific projects, which would be chosen by the townspeople. She stressed that the move to involve the residents was part of her concerted effort to consult people “at the grassroots level. in the development of projects at the community level”.
Emphasising that community folk should have a voice as to the issues that affect their daily lives, the Prime Minister said, “their involvement, I am sure, will make them become owners and protectors of their communities.”